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My wife is Catholic and we are raising our son as a Catholic, though my own views are primarily Objectivist. Recently he joined the Boy Scouts of America which requires that each scout profess a belief in God. So far, so good for him, despite my private views.

But recently, the Boy Scouts began exploring the idea of admitting openly homosexual Boy Scouts and Scout leaders. My wife and I are both morally opposed to open homosexuality in a club for boys because we view the practice as unnatural (counter to man's nature) and an inappropriate topic for non-adults. We both believe that sex is for procreation and pleasure between same-sex married couples.

Are we wrong to consider withdrawing our son from the Boy Scouts?

asked Mar 20 '13 at 14:39

Scott%20G%20Lloyd's gravatar image

Scott G Lloyd
604

No, it is not wrong. You are the child's father and your concerns are legitimate. If, after talking seriously with your wife on the matter you still think its better to remove your son from the Scouts, then you should feel free to do it. Now, you could try talking to your kid about the matter and, maybe, reach an agreement with him about behaving in the Scouts or maybe trying to explain to him why it is wrong and needs him to be removed from bad influence.

The point is, you are the one —with your wife— to take the choice and regardless of the result, you are morally correct unless you are violating e child's rights (he is certainly free but since he is a minor you can regulate his decisions). Your kid may, or may not, be able to understand the problem, but that's the thing, he is not an adult so, as his guardian, you are entitled to take the final decision.

Hope it helps!

(Mar 20 '13 at 16:24) Juan Diego dAnconia Juan%20Diego%20dAnconia's gravatar image

As a comment points out, the issue of whether or not to withdraw one's son from the Boy Scouts is relatively easy to resolve in favor of the parents. So is the issue of one's own "sexual preference" and one's refusal to support an organization that may undermine or confuse a normal heterosexual "orientation."

However, there are some other aspects of the question that I find more significant, although the questioner may perhaps prefer not to delve further into these issues in this thread:

My wife is Catholic and we are raising our son as a Catholic, though my own views are primarily Objectivist.... [T]he Boy Scouts of America ... requires that each scout profess a belief in God. So far, so good for him, despite my private views.

... My wife and I are both morally opposed to open homosexuality in a club for boys because we view the practice as unnatural (counter to man's nature) and an inappropriate topic for non-adults. We both believe that sex is for procreation and [not for?] pleasure between same-sex married couples.

The last sentence in the above excerpt is confusing. I have attempted to clarify what was probably meant. Here are the main issues I see that warrant further evaluation:

  • Allowing one's own child to be raised as a Catholic (or any other "faith") without resisting it and openly opposing all religion.

  • Allowing one's child to participate in an organization that openly endorses and expects adherence to religion.

  • Opposing homosexuality on religious grounds (sex for procreation only, not for one's own happiness and celebration of self).

I hope agreement with a decision to remove a child from the Boy Scouts will not be taken as an indirect endorsement of religion and of religious opposition to homosexuals.

Update: Religion, Child-Raising, and Sex

In a comment, the questioner again seems to be seeking an Objectivist assessment of child-raising and homosexuality without mention or challenge of religion. But Objectivism strongly rejects and opposes religion. Objectivism rejects mysticism of any kind, including all religions. Objectivism upholds reason and recognition of reality, with reason defined as "the faculty that identifies and integrates the material provided by man's senses." (Refer to the topic of "Reason" in The Ayn Rand Lexicon.) If the Boy Scouts are to be faulted by Objectivism, it is first and foremost for their embracing of religion, not for accepting openly homosexual boys and leaders into their organization. (The Scouts should be rationally faulted as well, if they refuse to accept openly atheistic boys and leaders.)

The literature of Objectivism doesn't say much about child-raising, although it has a lot to say about education. Refer, for example, to the topic of "Education" in the Lexicon. Connecting the education discussion with a brief passage in Atlas Shrugged, a clear Objectivist view of the basic role of child-raising emerges. The Atlas passage appears in Part III Chapter II, in the scene that begins, "Richard Halley stopped playing...," where Dagny notices the two young sons of the bakery shop owner in Galt's Gulch:

You marvel at the difference between my children and those outside, Miss Taggart? Yet the cause is so simple. The cause is that here, in Galt's Gulch, there's no person who would not consider it monstrous ever to confront a child with the slightest suggestion of the irrational."

Regarding homosexuality, the questioner writes: "I am concerned that my son will be taught that homosexuality is a 'normal' lifestyle." That is precisely the view of increasingly vocal homosexuals today -- that their "lifestyle" is, indeed, perfectly normal and natural. If the Scouts really do try to teach that view, and if the questioner disagrees, he would be perfectly within his parental prerogatives to withdraw his son from the Scouts. But there are also increasing numbers of experts today who conclude that homosexual "orientation" is inbuilt from birth, and is natural throughout the animal world, both human and non-human, and can't be changed by any kind of "teaching." If that is the case, then a heterosexual boy and his parents need have no fear of the boy becoming "corrupted" by the "modern Scouting experience," although the boy may well become sick and tired of it, if the Scouts try too hard to "teach" him. Heterosexuals are likely to find homosexual attraction highly repugnant.

And what does the boy himself think about the Scouts, in his own independent rational judgment? If he is old enough to be in the Scouts in the first place, then he's probably old enough to have formed a great many opinions of his own on a great many topics (opinions which he may or may not feel comfortable sharing with his parents). Why not let the boy decide for himself if Scouting is worth the effort to him, especially if he's doing it primarily just to please Mom and Dad in the first place?

Objectivism also does not share the questioner's view of the role of sex in man's life. Refer to the Lexicon topics of "Sex," "Love," "Happiness," and "Marriage" for an overview of the Objectivist perspective. OPAR contains a whole section on "Sex as Metaphysical" in Chapter 9 ("Happiness"), pp. 343-348. One passage explains (p. 346):

The subject of sex is complex and belongs largely to the science of psychology. I asked Ayn Rand once what philosophy specifically has to say on the subject. She answered: "It says that sex is good."

Sex is moral, it is an exalted pleasure, it is a profound value. Like happiness, therefore, sex is an end in itself; it is not necessarily a means to any further end, such as procreation. This uplifted view of sex leads to an ethical corollary: a function so important must be granted the respect it deserves.

Although Ayn Rand personally strongly disliked homosexuality, I know of nothing in the Objectivist statements on sex that precludes homosexuals from treating their form of sex as an exalted, romantic value in the same way psychologically that heterosexuals can and often do. And on a political level, Ayn Rand once explained (extemporaneously):

All laws against homosexual acts should be repealed. I do not approve of such practices or regard them as necessarily moral, but it is improper for the law to interfere with a relationship between consenting adults. Laws against corrupting the morals of minors are proper, but adults should be completely free.

(Quoted from Ayn Rand Answers, p. 18.)

answered Mar 22 '13 at 00:12

Ideas%20for%20Life's gravatar image

Ideas for Life ♦
467718

edited Mar 29 '13 at 02:39

To clarify, I am not endorsing religious bigotry. I agreed to allow my son to be raised Catholic before I encountered Objectivism, and I respect the tradition of Scouting.

I am conflicted because, though my wife and I both tolerate homosexuality as adults-only behavior, we have strong traditional views on marriage and family which the Boy Scouts currently endorse. So, if they allow openly gay boys and leaders into Scouting, I am concerned that my son will be taught that homosexuality is a "normal" lifestyle.

Does Objectivism offer a different view?

(Mar 28 '13 at 18:29) Scott G Lloyd Scott%20G%20Lloyd's gravatar image
1

I have to question the rationality of preventing your son from having the opinion that homosexuals are normal individuals worthy of friendship, trade, and mutual cooperation. The mere fact that they've found someone who encapsulates their values, that they love and wish to spend the rest of their lives with, and that person just so happen to be of the same gender, matters not.

Objectivism cannot help you explain irrational behavior.

(Apr 01 '13 at 17:25) JK Gregg ♦ JK%20Gregg's gravatar image

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Asked: Mar 20 '13 at 14:39

Seen: 1,700 times

Last updated: Apr 01 '13 at 17:35